Response to "About Karmic Debts & Payback"
Response to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/zeph/message/1140
Response to 'About Karmic Debts & Payback"
(S)hi'an: Negative karmic "payback" need not always be related to the person the evil was done to. For example, A's experienced karmic payback is not always related to B, to whom A was evil to. This means A's experience of payback can be from C, D, E, whom A was not evil to, while B might not have vengeance for A.
An example would be this - Jack harms Jill. Jack is later harmed by Jim instead. Jim however, had chose to harm Jack voluntarily (thus expressing Jacks negative karma), while Jill has no intention to harm Jack in return. Of course, Jim creates negative karma via his action.
(H)owdie: And the payback may not come from C or D or E alone - it may come from any combination of them.
S: Yes, and it can come from F, G and/or H . too.
H: And the payback can come in one lifetime or over several lifetimes.
S: Yes. Or it can be never repaid when one becomes enlightened. (See below for reason why.)
H: The nature of payback to A is not necessarily identical to what he did. For example, A kills B, but in a later life, A might sacrifice himself to save B.
S: When the sacrifice is willing, A creates positive karma too. It is possible that A sacrifices himself unwillingly (eg. via accident or murder) too. If there is neutral feeling, there is no positive karma created it becomes just a matter of payback. Negative states of mind while dying would create negative karma too.
H: A 'loan' might illustrate how karma works: I owe you $10, I repay you in 1x$10 or 2x $5 or 10x$1; I can repay you 1/3 first tomorrow and the rest over 3 months; I can also repay you or another party 'in kind' e.g. a youth asked by a juvenile court to do community service because he hurts someone -- or a combination of the above. The only difference is that the law of karma does not charge interest as in a bank loan.
S: The court would usually ask the youth to apologise to the hurt person too. In a sense, there is interest charged in karmic dynamics too for better or worse - thats how people are able to develop. If not, things will more or less be at an equalising stalemate of non-evolution for better or worse. An example of accumulative interest taking place plant a (positively or negatively karmic) seed and take care of it and it will yield many fruits with many more seeds and fruits in time. That is to say, one seed does not always yield just one fruit.
Another example is the karma of a bank loan itself. Yes, even the mechanics of a bank loan can reflect karma at work. Take a loan (plant a karmic seed) and in time, you owe more than what you lent in the first place as interest compounds. Just as those who disbelieve in the mechanics of karma would think this interest system is fair, likewise, it is karmically fair that the seeds we plant grow to become more than what they were in the first place. Thus is it important not to neglect the little evils we do which can have not just cumulative but expansive effects too.
H: In the final analysis, equilibrium has to be restored; but there are many ways to return to the equilibrium state.
S: Equilibrium is not always reached, if possible at all partly due to the seed-fruit analogy above. Equilibrium can be delayed indefinitely. Karma being dynamic and thus open-ended, perfectly closed karmic loops are improbable. What happens instead is that the combinations of fluxing causes-conditions-effects constantly "push" developments forward. It seems impossible that karma can be equalised once and for all in terms of A harms B and B harms A back being the be-all and end-all of their karmic relationship. Ever-changing, A and Bs actions will perpetuate new karma and thus lead to new results.
Only the fully enlightened can cognise their karmic seeds involved in various matters, and choose not to provide conditions to let them ripen. In this sense, through realisation of the law of karma, they can seem to go "above the law" of karma, though they are still "subject" to it (while not being victimised by it). This is the only way to escape from the clutches of karma.
Accounts of the Buddha experiencing some unfortunate effects in his life after enlightenment (eg. having failed assassination attempted upon him twice) are essentially seen as important lessons of how extensive karmic effects can be even affecting the fully enlightened (thus hinting of karma not being "equalised" - even after enlightenment). However, with his perfect wisdom and compassion, the Buddha can be seen to had been effectively demonstrating the mechanics of karma by "allowing" these unfortunate events to happen to serve as reminders of how powerful karma can be.
Buddhism also does not agree with the idea that enlightenment is achieved via the total exhaustion of (both positive and negative) karma (which happens to be the Jainist ideal). This is simply because almost every intentional action of thought, speech and mind creates some karma. It is impossible to let all karma be fully expressed and exhausted in ones life, while not creating new karma in the meantime. This is because we have created incalculable mixed karma (both positive and negative) already. For this amount of karma to be exhausted (if even possible) takes incalculable time, such that it is impossible to not create incalculable new karma while waiting.
Using another means, Buddhism encourages the active creation of purely positive karma (merits) instead, which dilutes ones negative karma, which in turns aids ones progress towards enlightenment. This is why Buddhas are often described as perfect in both merits and wisdom (and compassion).